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Microsoft Vista Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Licensing and Windows Virtual Enterprise Centralized Desktops (VECD) 

Posted By:  Yung Chou
Publish Date: 9/8/2009

In TechNet Game-On Tour currently being delivered in the US east coast, I talked about Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and got very overwhelming response. It’s indeed an exciting feeling when witnessing desktop virtualization (no longer available) works in a predictable way and behaves as designed. In my conversations with the attendees, one of the frequently asked questions has been the licensing of VDI and I thought to point out some pertinent information here.

The basic Windows Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) license with traditional desktops is not designed for use in VDI, since it is bound to the OEM hardware device, with no reassignment rights.

Software Assurance (SA) provides organizations with additional values including the ability to reassign a license after 90 days, upgrading or downgrading to latest versions of the OS, and accessing to desktop virtualization technology in the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). Still it does not provide the ability to create desktops dynamically or move desktops across different hardware and storage platforms, etc., i.e. a level of flexibility that a VDI solution needs.

Windows Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktops (VECD) is a new type of license designed to help customers license virtual copies of Windows. It is a device-based subscription, which means the total number of licenses is equal to the total number of devices that access the virtual environment. VECD is an annual subscription, following the SA model. Additional information on Licensing Microsoft Windows for virtual environments is available.


  • Allows customers to make as many copies of the OS image as they like, which is helpful when creating dynamic desktops.
  • Allows customers to move the image onto any combination of servers and storage devices.
  • Comes bundled with work at home rights.
  • Comes bundled with Software Assurance benefits.